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Fifth Disease in Children

Fifth Disease Symptoms in Children

Common symptoms of fifth disease in children are usually mild and can include:
 
  • "Slapped-cheek" rash on the face (see Fifth Disease Pictures)
  • Lacy, red rash on the trunk, arms, and legs.
     
A few days before the characteristic fifth disease rash appears, some children may have early fifth disease symptoms that include:
 
  • Low-grade fever
  • Body aches
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Chills.
     

Diagnosing Fifth Disease in Children

In order to diagnose fifth disease in children, the doctor will ask a number of questions about the child's symptoms and history of medical conditions. He or she will also perform a physical exam. During the physical exam, a doctor can often diagnose fifth disease by seeing the typical fifth disease rash.
 
In cases in which it is important to confirm the diagnosis of fifth disease, a blood test may be done to look for antibodies (proteins that the body makes to fight viruses) to parvovirus.
 

Treatment of Fifth Disease in Children

There is no treatment that will kill the virus that causes fifth disease; therefore, fifth disease treatment goals in children focus on treating fifth disease symptoms as the body fights the parvovirus. Fortunately, fifth disease is usually a mild illness.
 
Parvovirus B19 infection may cause serious illness in children with certain medical conditions, such as those with:
 
  • Sickle-cell anemia (destruction of red blood cells)
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
  • Other cancers
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Thalassemia (group of inherited diseases of the blood)
  • Hereditary spherocytosis (the presence of round red blood cells in the blood)
  • Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (breakdown of red blood cells, characterized by dark-colored urine).

 

A Dose of Reassurance for Parents of Picky Eaters

Information on Fifth Disease

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